A MATTER CLOSE TO THE HEART
Angelica has always loved unusual hats. And the Montecristi is one of the most fascinating: it evokes a sense of the Caribbean, cigar smoke and revolutionary romanticism. Although fine hats are also woven in other parts of Ecuador, Montecristi is the cradle of the finest straw hat weaving in the world. Montecristi hats are the most refined of straw hats, coveted for their exquisite craftsmanship and natural fibres by royals like Prince Charles and Prince Harry, as well as Caroline of Monaco and Princess Mary of Denmark, heads of state like Winston Churchill, writers like Ernest Hemingway and celebrities like Johnny Depp or Paul Newman. But Angelica does not only want to cater to this image. Sustainability, fairness and social responsibility are much more important to her. That is why she founded her company The Hattitude in 2012 in pursuit of her dream of preserving a craft that is at risk of disappearing and bringing about positive change in the lives of weavers in Ecuador. Making a profit does not matter to her. The product is not scalable, nor does she want that: all Montecristi hats are unique and are made in the private homes of selected artisans. Therefore, the hats are a limited edition and cannot be mass produced. In return, it is possible to customise it in one’s own style with an elegant or modern design. At least nine people work on each individual Montecristi hat – each specialising in crucial skills. However, due to the bent posture and required concentration, they do not weave more than three to five hours a day.
For a superfino, the finest of the finest, the master weavers weave metres of straw so delicately that the material feels like woven linen. A work of art that comes at a price. Only a handful of weavers on the coast are even capable of weaving a fino – let alone a superfino. Angelica knows them all personally, even lived with their families for a while, and also keeps in touch with them on FaceTime every day.